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CHICAGO — Twelve nurses with the University of Illinois at Chicago hospital have tested positive for COVID-19.

The staff is blaming the illness on lack of proper equipment.

Terrance Yee is a staff nurse at UIC hospital He said he has growing concerns about the lack of N-95 respirator masks.

 “Yes we signed up for this,” he said. “We didn’t sign up to have no PPE’s at all.”
The Illinois Nurses Association said day to day they don’t know if their members will have masks, gloves or goggles.

“We’ve been asking management if we could wear the masks when we’re in the hallway or with other patients that are regular, that are ruled out for COVID,” Yee said. “And they’ve been refusing us for the last days.”

Yee said nurses asked if they could bring masks from home and were refused, but says late Friday afternoon, UIC changed its policy and will now allow it.

UIC said they are instituting universal masking to protect staff–even when treating patients with unknown COVID status. In those cases they are providing staff with a universal surgical or cloth mask.

Staff will get one per day.

For suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients, a manager will sign out an N-95 mask to the health care workers.

Yee said patients can deteriorate very quickly and he along with other nurses are urging everyone, even those who don’t think they’re vulnerable, to stay home and protect themselves.

“Even if you’re young you shouldn’t feel like Superman because it could hit you and hit you pretty bad,” he said.